HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanAltered Photos of Khmer Rouge Victims Sparks Petition

Altered Photos of Khmer Rouge Victims Sparks Petition

Graphic from 18 Million Rising

VICE faces backlash for releasing altered photos of Khmer Rouge Genocide which resulted in the deaths of up to 3 million people after the Cambodian Civil War.

Matt Loughrey, an Ireland based artist, added smiles to several of the photos. VICE removed the photo series on Monday and has yet to issue an apology, according to CNN.

The article published colorized photos of prisoners from the Tuol Sleng S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh.

The Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Quyen Dinh, released a statement Tuesday regarding the photoseries. The statement urged VICE to stop the systemic erasure of Cambodian Americans and listen to the voices of Cambodian people living throughout the United States.

“We are appalled that VICE would publish an article with images by an individual who desecrated victims of the Khmer Genocide. Instead of allowing our communities room to rejoice and heal during the Cambodian New Year, the website uplifted efforts to whitewash the genocide victims and trivialized the pain and trauma that this humanitarian atrocity continues to inflict on our community to this day,” wrote Dinh.

The statement urges VICE to act on the demands of SEARAC and its partners, which include Mekong NYC, Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN), and 18 million rising. The organizations have asked that VICE issue an apology to the public and to the Cambodian people.

The aforementioned organizations have urged VICE work with community organizations to publish articles and videos about issues impacting the communities. This involves Southeast Asian deportations and detentions in addition to community building and healing. The organizations have also asked that VICE establishes a meeting between editors and the aforementioned organizations to address these concerns.

There has been a petition circulating to demand VICE News, Loughrey and McPhail end their anti-Asian violence now.

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